Though the start of the 2022-2023 school year has already come and gone for many of us, I tend to find myself immersed in a feeling of renewal at the conclusion of each summer. Though I live somewhere with minimal changes to the weather and foliage, I eagerly await the appearance of school supplies in stores, and the hustle and bustle of young people sprinting down sidewalks towards their schools.
For leaders in our field, this school year ushers in some challenges that, though not unique to this year, will require contextualized and concentrated efforts to address. Teacher turnover is rising, and that trend is magnified at the administrative level. We already know that too many new teachers enter classrooms unprepared to meet the needs of their students, but states and districts are choosing to reduce or eliminate requirements for licensure in order to fully staff their buildings.
The impacts of the coronavirus pandemic continue to ravage those in the most marginalized communities. In times like these, our goal – to prepare a diverse and culturally sustaining teaching workforce through high-quality clinical experiences – matters more than ever. Just as the start of fall presents a balance between the long, heady days of summer and the approaching period of quiet dormancy, we must maintain high standards for ourselves while moving rapidly to adjust to a more difficult landscape. We can accomplish this through leaning on our communities, through learning from our peers and colleagues, and through trusting and listening to those experiencing the trial: students, residents, and their supporters.
It is always such a pleasure to convene with this community of teacher preparation leaders, and I look forward to the innovations, the relationships, and the experiences that this year will bring. I’ll be ready at our first full-community, in-person Symposium since 2019, new backpack and sharpened pencils, ready to get to work.